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Useful Notes / Arizona

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Bobby: 111 degrees?! Phoenix really can't be that hot, can it? [steps outside the truck] Oh my God, it's like standing on the sun!
Peggy: This city should not exist. It is a monument to man's arrogance.

Arizona, the 48th and last state admitted in the contiguous United States, entering its statehood on Valentine's Day, celebrated its centennial in 2012. It's known as the home of the Grand Canyon, the Saguaro cactus, and the Sonoran Desert, plenty of other noteworthy attractions... and for being really hot. Really, really, really hot.

Geographically, Arizona sits on the Four Corners region, sharing its border with Colorado, New Mexico, and Utah; the state also borders California to the west and Nevada to the northwest. Additionally, Arizona is also one of four states to share a land border with Mexico, bordering the Mexican states of Sonora and Baja California.

Despite its stereotypical image as a big empty desert, Arizona is one of the fastest growing states in the Union. Its capital, Phoenix, is already the fifth-largest city in the United States, the tenth largest metro area, and is the biggest capital overall.note  The mining industry fuels commercial growth throughout the state, where the predominant mineral extracted is copper, earning the state the nickname "the Copper State". However, as copper has declined, the real economic powerhouse has increasingly become real estate. Arizona is also known as a major state for retirees to move to so they can avoid winters in the Midwest or Northeast of the United States and also the hurricanes and humidity of Florida, and much of Arizona's tourism industry caters to them.

Speaking of the natural features, the Grand Canyon is among the grandest canyons in the world, being 277 miles long and up to 18 miles wide and featuring some truly incredible vistas.

The state of Arizona has had one ship of the United States Navy named in its honor, the battleship USS Arizona (BB-39). If you've ever seen footage of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, you have likely seen footage of the Arizona's forward magazine exploding, resulting in the loss of the ship and 1,177 of her crew. The ship itself has a Grey's Anatomy character (Dr. Arizona Robbins) named for her.

Here are some towns, cities, and areas of note:

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    Northern Arizona 
  • Colorado City (formerly Short Creek): On the Utah border and north of the Grand Canyon, synonymous with the fundamentalist/polygamist Mormon sects there, including the infamous Warren Jeffs clan, which basically ran the remote town.
  • Flagstaff: Largest city in northern Arizona. Known both for its many days of sunshine and its many days of snow, thanks mainly to its elevation of over 6,900 feet (2,100 m), lifting it above the desert climate that prevails in the region. The location of Northern Arizona University. Former Route 66 crosses the city. For some reason it doesn't have the state hockey team.note  Home of the historic and classic Hollywood favorite Hotel Monte Vista.
  • Holbrook: Town founded along with the Atlantic & Pacific Railroad (acquired by the Santa Fe railway; now BNSF Railway). A Route 66 town, it's situated close to Petrified Forest State Park.
  • Page: Situated near Glen Canyon Dam and Lake Powell by the northern Utah border.
  • Seligman: A town located at what is called the heart of Route 66. Used as a reference for Radiator Springs from the Cars films.
  • Williams: A town that relies on tourism based on its Route 66 heritage and being a gateway to the Grand Canyon. The popular train ride attraction to the Grand Canyon's South Rim begins in Williams.
  • Window Rock: The capital of the Navajo Nation, the largest territory controlled by a Native American tribe.
  • Winslow: Another one of the Route 66 towns, it has a majestic railroad station hotel (plus fame from The Eagles' song "Take it Easy" and a downtown park named in homage to the lyrics). Gateway to Meteor Crater, its most famous attraction.

    Central Arizona 
  • Camp Verde: Has the largest Kokopelli (Native American fertility deity) statue. Mentioned in Paul.
  • Casa Grande: A city located in a fast-growing area between Phoenix and Tucson. It shares its name with a set of Native American ruins in nearby Coolidge.
  • Coolidge: Home of the ruins mentioned above. Named after the 30th president Calvin Coolidge.
  • Cottonwood: A town that's southwest of Sedona.
  • Payson: This town is close to the geographical center of Arizona and the Mogollon Rim, hence the use of the "Rim Country" in some businesses.
  • Prescott: Former capital of Arizona, this city's downtown is very historic, having some buildings dating from the 19th century. The locals call it "Press-kitt."
  • Sedona: A small city famous for the bright red rocky landscapes surrounding it. It has a small but thriving community of New Agers.
  • Wickenburg: A large town which touts itself as the Dude Ranch capital of the world and still thrives today as an Old West themed town.

    Phoenix Area 
There's a reason this area of the state is called the Valley of the Sun: It experiences some of the high temperatures in the state, particularly during summer (the highest temperature ever recorded in Phoenix was something like 128º Fahrenheit —just over 53° Celsius). Contrary to time-worn assertions of out-of-state retirees who come to avoid harsh winters that "at least it's a dry heat", Phoenix and its surrounding cities usually experience a few weeks of humidity during the annual monsoon season.

Probably of note is that local residents frequently distinguish between the East and West Sides of the Valley; the East Side is generally seen as tonier, cleaner, less disreputable, and also wimpier than the West Side, largely thanks to the East Side having Scottsdale, Chandler, and Mesa (q.v. all below).

  • Phoenix: The capital and principal city of the state. The home court of the NBA Phoenix Suns (now known as the Footprint Center, its sixth name) and the home field of the MLB Arizona Diamondbacks (Chase Fieldnote ) are both located downtown. The Sky Harbor International Airport is east-southeast of downtown. With over 1.6 million people, Phoenix is the fifth largest city proper in the United States, the most populous capital city, and the tenth largest metro area. It takes its name from the several hundred miles of canals that had been dug by the Hohokam culture, which disappeared around 400 years before the first Euro-American settlers arrived in the valley; after restarting the canals, the new settlers named their town "Phoenix" as it had "risen from the ashes" of an ancient civilization. Of course, modern locals would probably argue that it's also appropriate for a town that virtually bursts into flame every year.
  • Avondale: Location of the Phoenix International Raceway, despite not being located in Phoenix proper.
  • Buckeye: Westernmost city in the Phoenix metropolitan area, which currently sees the fastest growth rates in the area. Upton Sinclair of The Jungle fame lived here in his last years.
  • Chandler: A city in the southeast part of the area that is home to most of the area's technology development industries.
  • Gilbert: Largest incorporated town by population in the United States. Its population in 2016 was around 237,000, just behind Chandler (around 247,000), which is a city.
  • Glendale: The city that's currently home to the NFL Cardinals and NHL Coyotes (don't ask why a desert city has a hockey team). The Cardinals' stadium hosted the 2015 Super Bowl, 2016 College Football Playoff National Championship, and 2017 NCAA men's Final Four (basketball).
  • Goodyear: Named from the Goodyear company (yes, that tire company), where they established cotton farms for their tires. Don't remind them of that.
  • Guadalupe: Nestled in between Tempe and southeast Phoenix. Founded in 1900 by Yaqui Indians fleeing persecution in Mexico, it remains a small ethnic enclave of working-class laborers and lower-middle-class commuters, proudly branding itself as the meeting place of three cultures — Indians, Hispanics, and working-class whites. Many jokes have been made at the expense of East Siders who point to Guadalupe as proof that they have a "bad part of town", too.
  • Maricopa: The southernmost city in the area, about fifteen miles away from the "body" of the metro area. Sometimes known for having the only Amtrak station in the area. To the east for several miles is the site of a former Japanese-American internment camp.
  • Mesa: Founded by Latter-Day Saints in the 19th century, this city contains most of the Valley's LDS population, including a Mormon temple (renowned for its outdoor Easter pageant and its Christmas-season display of lights). It's famous for serving as the spring-training base of both the Chicago Cubs and the Oakland Athletics. Has its own small but vibrant music scene (thanks largely to being Tempe's next-door neighbor), having produced two nationally known bands in recent years, Jimmy Eat World and Authority Zero.
  • Paradise Valley: A small community located in rocky hill territory between Phoenix and Scottsdale. Site of some of the most envied views and expensive real estate in the Valley (most of the famous people with homes in the Valley live here, making it a sort of Beverly Hills of Arizona) and home to no less than eight resort hotels.
  • Peoria: Site of the Luke Air Force Base. One of the dominant cities in the northwest part of the area.
  • Scottsdale: An affluent city located northeast of Phoenix filled with nightlife amenities. It's the Arizona version of South Beach, or the Bel Air to Paradise Valley's Beverly Hills.
  • Surprise: A city in the northwest corner of the Phoenix area. It's a winter training place for the Kansas City Royals and Texas Rangers.
  • Tempe: Home of Arizona State University's primary campus, as well as McFarlane Toys and the aforementioned university's Sun Devils sports teams.note  Birthplace of the nationwide ice cream chain Cold Stone Creamery. Acknowledged as one of the central axes of the Valley's music scene and politically the farthest-left of any city in the Phoenix area.

    Western Arizona 
  • Bullhead City: Located by the Colorado River, this small city hosts the annual River Regatta event and is across the river from the casino strip of Laughlin, Nevada.
  • Kingman: County seat of Mohave County and a Route 66 city.
  • Lake Havasu City: City in western Arizona on the Colorado River. Best known for the Lake Havasu boating scene and the London Bridge, which was transported piece-by-piece from London.
  • Parker: A town on the Colorado River. Home of one of the deepest dams in the world in front of Lake Havasu. No one is sure to pick who is the namesake of the town, since there's either Ely Parker, first Native American commissioner for the nation's government, or Earl Parker, a railroad surveyor and engineer.
  • Poston: A tiny town 15 miles south of Parker, known for having one of the largest Japanese-American internment camps that operated during World War II.
  • Quartzsite: A town along Interstate 10 notable for having a huge number of winter residents between November and spring in every year. These residents are usually from the northern states or Canada. This period is when Quartzsite hosts flea markets and gem shows from its winter residents.
  • San Luis: The town containing a border entrance to Mexico from the Yuma Valley and the most geographically southwest community of the state.
  • Yuma: A small city along the Colorado River near the state's southwest corner. Mostly sunny all year as well. There is an agriculture industry that produces winter vegetables for the U.S., but it couldn't save the city from bearing one of the highest rates of metro unemployment in the country.

    Southern Arizona 
  • Tucson: Largest city in southern Arizona and the oldest incorporated city in the state. Home to the University of Arizona. It has an aircraft boneyard in the Davis–Monthan Air Force Base and many companies that develop optics here. A bit more left in politics than the Phoenix area.
  • Ajo: This remote town between Gila Bend and the Mexican border has an inactive copper mine. The cult horror film Night of the Lepus was filmed in Ajo, which is commemorated in a mural visible as one drives south along Ajo's main highway.
  • Benson: A former Southern Pacific railroad town. Considered to be a gateway to the Kartchner Caverns State Park.
  • Bisbee: A town located near the southeast corner of the state. It has well-preserved mining scenes from the past and is built largely on the walls of a canyon, making for many winding roads and a lot of stairs. Come for the scenic vistas, stay for the cardio.
  • Bowie: A town along Interstate 10 near the New Mexico border. This is the hometown of the main character in the Rambo franchise.
  • Douglas: A town that's also located close to the southeast corner. Situated next to the Mexican border, it used to be a copper smelting town with ore input from nearby Bisbee. One of the state's most famous hotels, the Gadsden Hotel, is in Douglas.
  • Gila Bend: A town located southwest of Phoenix and east of Yuma. Gila Bend's main street has a number of diners and hotels built in the 1960s using the Raygun Gothic aesthetic. Nowadays, these structures have their share of both Zee Rust and actual rust.
  • Nogales: A border town south of Tucson, and Arizona's main entry to Mexico, which accesses the state of Sonora. Interstate 19, the highway between Nogales and Tucson, is the only highway in the United States with distances provided in metric measurements.
  • Sierra Vista: Another town in the southeast corner of the state and one of the largest there, it primarily serves Fort Huachuca to the northwest, and thus combined with its proximity to the border is largely populated by military families, border patrol agents and their families, and retirees. Also a popular bird-watching destination, bearing the nickname "the Hummingbird Capital of the United States".
  • Tombstone: Town that's best known for the quick gunfight in 1881 when Wyatt Earp and fellow lawmen fought several outlaws at the O.K. Corral.

    Eastern Arizona 
Some of these locations may also be included in definitions of Northern Arizona.
  • Clifton: Town in eastern Arizona where a particularly ugly copper mine strike occurred in the early 1980s.
  • Eagar: A smallish town but still the largest in Apache County (though not the county seat). Notable for a few historic sites, including a ranch once owned and often visited by John Wayne; being the closest town of any real size to the state's largest ski area, Sunrise Park; and for its domed high school football stadium.
  • Globe: The core city in a populated area called "Globe-Miami", which is adjacent to a copper mine and the Pinal Mountains.
  • Snowflake: One of the few remaining towns that has a logging business in the state. The town's paper mill shut down in 2012, causing an economic decline for the town and its railroad, the Apache Railway.
  • Safford: An agricultural town that is a primary setting for the film Lost in America.
  • Show Low: A town in the forests within the Mogollon Rim, a highland in eastern Arizona.
  • Superior: Town where several films such as How the West Was Won and The Prophecy were filmed.

People from Arizona:

Tropes pertaining to Arizona:

  • All Deserts Have Cacti: The trope likely comes from here, as Arizona is home to most cactus species, particularly the iconic saguaro. Justified, due to the saguaro and prickly pear being indigenous to the state.
  • Blazing Inferno Hellfire Sauce: Hot sauces and salsa are a common staple in novelty shops as well as a common thing found in most residents' diets due to the large number of Mexican Americans residing in the state.
  • "Common Knowledge": The state's name comes from the Spanish words for "arid zone" (arida zona). In fact, this is a popular misconception; the name is believed to have come from either the indigenous O'Odham language name Ali Sonak (meaning "small spring" and translated into Spanish as Arissona), or from the Basque term Haritz Ona ("good oak") as many of the first European settlers in the area were Spaniards of Basque heritage.
  • Disaster Dominoes: Phoenix suffered majorly in the aftermath of the 1994 deal that saw Fox, fresh off nabbing the NFC football package from CBS, strike a deal with New World Communications to switch NW's stations to CBS. A special in Denver about the affiliation shuffling up there explained the situation in Phoenix with a rather complex chart. Even one of the affected station managers (Bob Rowe, then-GM of KNXV-15, originally Fox but then about to switch to ABC) even remarked that "It's like they dropped an atom bomb" because basically every station in town (except for KPNX-12, the NBC station) was switching, causing mass viewer confusion.
  • Everything Trying to Kill You: A lot of the wildlife can be dangerous. There are larger predators like mountain lions, coyotes, and wildcats, while smaller things like rattlesnakes, scorpions and Gila Monsters lurk in the shadows.
  • Ghost Town: The state has many of these dotted around the landscape, mainly old communities in the Wild West days. The most well-known to outsiders is Tombstone.
  • Happy Rain: The monsoon season brings this feeling out to residents. You'll know A Storm Is Coming when the whole sky is grey and cloudy. However, it can be subverted if there's too much rain, as flash floods are a common danger.
  • Heat Wave: To reiterate once more, it gets really hot in the summer, with triple-digit (or close to) temperatures being a daily thing from late spring to early autumn, especially in the most populous areas.
  • It's Always Spring: Winters are fairly mild in the state, although the northern parts can get a decent amount of snow. However, there are sometimes cold spells as far south as Tucson, assisted by wind chill. There has also been some cases of frost and fog in the early morning. Averted when it gets hotter, in which case it gets far too hot to be considered Spring.
  • Native American Casino: Likely to be run by the Navajo, Tohono O'odham, or Pasqua Yaqui tribes. The most notable is the Gila River Casino chain.
  • Profiling: The state has had a controversial history of this regarding Mexican immigrants, especially under the notoriously hardline Sheriff Joe Arpaio of Maricopa County (the county which includes Phoenix; Arpaio was voted out of office in 2016). As it is a border state, immigration is a prevalent issue.
  • Quirky Neighbor Country: Could be considered this to California, especially since Arizona has increasingly become home to a number of Californians looking for someplace cheaper to live.
  • Stock Desert Interstate: The highways will be a perfect example of this.
  • Thirsty Desert: The state's not named the "Arid Zone" for nothing. Unlike other deserts like the Sahara, there are no sand dunes, but there are a large number of volcanic rock formations. The Greater Phoenix Area (located in the aptly named Valley of the Sun) and everything south of it is mostly rocky, dry, and arid. Subverted in some parts of the North and the East, where pine forests dominate. The Mogollon Rim and San Francisco Peaks will often have snow on them in winter.